Here we go again – Mercury is entering another retrograde phase. For the astrologically-curious, Mercury retrogrades can be a nerve-wracking time because they are often announced with stern warnings from the free horoscope sites. But it’s one of those “the less you know, the scarier it seems” scenarios. If you find yourself dreading this Mercury phase, fear not! Here are some tips for experiencing this phase as an opportunity:
- Don’t panic.
- Find out what Mercury retrograde really means, in general. (I recommend checking out Beyond Sun Signs’ description, it is totally approachable. Go ahead, go there now. I’ll wait.)
- Do back-up important electronic files and perform car maintenance before the backwards phase begins. For portable communication devices, keep chargers and extra batteries handy. (If you read the FAQ linked above, you’d know why prepping your devices is recommended.)
- Listen. Then listen harder.
- Ask questions. Clarify. Verify.
- Proof read. Review. Re-review. Then check again.
- Expect delays – bring a book.
- Expect blasts from the past – ex’s, employers, and unfinished business of all kinds.
As a Tarot reader, I find that during Mercury retrograde cycles there is a general trend of more Sword cards than usual. Traditionally, Swords were the suit of conflict – which sounds very unpleasant. Nowadays, Swords are now more commonly interpreted as the suit of mental processes, ideas, and communication. It’s pretty much the same thing, just seen from a more empowering place. Conflict usually arises when philosophies don’t balance – whether intrapersonally*, interpersonally, locally or globally. So then, avoiding or resolving conflicts comes through clear communication and contract negotiation. Finding harmony starts with getting clear on one’s on philosophy, sharing it clearly, listening & comprehending the other side’s position, determining needs and deal breakers, and letting go of what does not serve the final balance. (Each individual Sword card represents a point in that process.)
As we evolve, we learn to pick our battles, so to speak. And the Mercury Retrograde cycle helps us do just that. For a personal example, I often get a call or email from some ex-paramour or other during a Mercury Retrograde. (It’s really uncanny, it happens almost every time.) But I will admit, as a gal who is still learning how to clearly state needs in the context of relationships, these little detours offer me the chance to review past communications and renegotiate personal contracts…or not. It’s likely that you will experience similar opportunities, perhaps in another arena of your life: business contracts may need revisions, your Great American Novel might need some tweaking, some old family heartache can finally be addressed openly, etc.
The important thing to keep in mind now is that this is all about evolution and progress, even if Mercury’s gift seems like a set-back. Maybe try to think of any issue you get to review at this time is like a little pop quiz. Test how far you’ve come in your life’s story. Are you going to ace it? Or do you need to review a chapter? This cycle allows you to gage your performance so far. The sooner you get solid with these skills, the fewer pop-quizzes pop up.
Mercury Retrograde, for all it’s bad press, is really an opportunity to get things right.
* Yes, because we are capable of holding completely contradictory philosophies in our minds, we can be our own best enemies, generating conflict from within. That’s why inner-work is so important – it’s how we find incompatible software in our supercomputer brains. Sometimes, it becomes critical to listen to the suppressed voices, and renegotiate a common game plan with all our various internal bits and pieces. (They don’t always like to work together, when left to their own own devices in the dark mists of the subconscious.)